Standing astride the field he used to own, a sterling spring day spent watching his sister Jennifer participate in a San Marino High School track meet was literally hundreds of miles from the recent experiences of Oliver Campbell III, a 2011 graduate of SMHS, who in January finished his Army Ranger training at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life – by far,” said Campbell, pausing a couple cadences before adding the ‘by far,’
Four hundred and two went in, only one hundred and seventy-one came out, but anyone who saw Campbell patrol the field as a Titan linebacker had little doubt the 6’2,” 200 pounder would prevail.
Campbell is now stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington. He was home on a two-week leave and genuinely enjoyed watching Jennifer sprint to victory in the 200 meter dash.
The all-Rio Hondo League and all-area first team middle linebacker did flinch a bit when the starter’s pistol fired twice, indicating a false start.
“Probably not the best sound for someone to hear who is fresh out of Ranger school,” this reporter quipped.
“Not at all,” Campbell joked in return.
When he played at SMHS, the public address announcer used to say “If I can’t see who made the tackle, I just say ‘brought down by Oliver Campbell’ and I am almost never wrong.’”
Campbell enlisted directly into the United States Army and began his Ranger training after boot camp. He said he expects to be deployed soon.
He said Ranger training challenged him “physically and mentally” in ways he never expected.
“One day, we hiked through a mountain range for hours carrying one hundred pounds of gear,” Campbell said. “We finally camped in the middle of the night and our instructor said ‘you have one hour to eat and sleep,’ and before we knew it, were off again. But I really enjoy the challenges. The environment also makes you grow very close to the guys in your group.”
Oliver is the son of Carol and Oliver Campbell II of San Marino.
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